Early Pedalers: Gecko + Hedgehog Crew
Control and confidence building are the two main focuses when kids first learn to ride. After learning to walk, learning to ride will be a child’s second biggest achievement. Most kids realize after a few pedal strokes that a bike powers them way faster than they’ve moved before. Thrilling! Scary! Awesome! At the same time!
Kids should feel in control, be able to stop and put their feet down on the ground to steady themselves at this stage. A bike that positions kids awkwardly with their feet and hands too high throws off their balance, which they’re just learning. Kids who learn to brake and push off on their own build muscle memory and .
When a child can control her bike, she quickly gains confidence. When her bike is light enough for her to move around, and she rides with her weight distributed between her hands, feet and bum, she learns the safe-feeling thrill that makes riding so great. Our tip here: resist the urge to instruct your child with every pedal stroke. Let her develop her own sense of balance. Let her wobble.
Once a child feels comfortable starting, stopping and carving a few turns on her first bike, she’ll likely tell you she feels too low, or say she wants to sit up higher. That’s the time to raise her seat so she can touch the ground with the balls of her feet, rather than her flat foot, when sitting on the saddle. Riders at this stage of development can try standing out of the saddle, pedaling out of the saddle, leaning the bike through s-turns and riding with one hand. Oh yeah!
Little Rippers: Hedgehogs, Owls, Meerkat + Scout
As kids advance, they’ll feel comfortable, confident and fast in the same riding position that adults find best – toes touching the ground while sitting on the saddle, arms slightly bent and hands positioned at belly button height.
If a kids’ seat is too high, stopping them from touching the ground, or their handlebar is so high that it tips their weight backward, away from their hands and onto their bum they’re going to feel nervous. If the bike has no hand brakes they’ll feel out of control, if it’s too heavy they‘ll struggle to even start and sometimes not be able to support the bike when stationary. All leading to them feeling unsafe, and quite reasonably, they’ll be turned off of biking.
Design is a Big Deal
Most of our bikes have one gear, a rigid fork and exceptionally light-action brakes sized for little hands. Our handlebars, saddles, pedals and cranks are all kid-sized. In the same way kids do their best work sitting at a little desk in a little chair, kids do amazing things on a well fit bike for them.
We design our frames around kids proportions, with appropriate geometry for their age and height. If you look at traditional kids bikes, you’ll typically find very short and upright geometry with high pedals that are hard to ride. We scrapped that. The reach from the seat to the handlebars on a properly fit Cleary puts the rider’s center of gravity between the wheels, centered. We also use lower crank and pedal height. This sets your rider up in a low, balanced position for riding, whis is safer, more comfortable and ultimately more fun!
Every bike journey begins with a pedal stroke, but if that pedal stroke is off-balance and strained, it will be the last pedal that kid risks and he won’t set off on a biking journey. We’re here to change that.
If you have more questions about the best fit for your rider, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.